“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”
Sometimes you don’t recognize the significance of something you go through until after you have gone through it. That was the case for me as I look back at my experience in the Leader’s Collaborative.
I went through the Leader’s Collaborative in 2012, I was 27 years old. I remember going to the opening retreat having no idea what to expect. Little did I know that going through the Collaborative would transform my life.
I remember sitting around the bon fire the first night of the retreat. I shared with the group that I was coming out of a season where I was deeply wounded. I wasn’t sure if I could be used by God in a significant way, I was struggling with my identity, and I was not very optimistic about the future. God used the Collaborative in my life to deal with all three of those issues.
As I look back on the collaborative, the most significant things God taught me were:
Lisa often says, “You will become the best version of yourself only in community.” Perhaps the greatest benefit of going through the Collaborative is the community you become a part of. I’ve built relationships with leaders in our city that continue to help me become the best version of myself two and half years after I’ve gone through the Collaborative.
I’ve built relationships with leaders in our city that continue to help me become the best version of myself two and half years after I’ve gone through the Collaborative.
We all have strengths and weaknesses and it’s critically important that we become aware of how both our strengths and weaknesses impact the lives of others. The Leader’s Collaborative is tailored to help you become more self-aware.
It’s critically important that we become aware of how both our strengths and weaknesses impact the lives of others.
During Bruce Bickel’s lesson, he made two statements that significantly impacted me in this area. He said, “Ministry is not a job, ministry is who you are, where you are…” and “If God’s called you to do something, He’s the only one that can stop that from happening.” For so long, I thought my calling and my ministry were based on who I knew, where I worked, and what people thought of me. For the first time in my life, I realized that the fact that I am a child of God and am growing into the person God created me to be is enough. That truth set me free.
The Importance of Consistently Challenging my Idols – Prior to the Collaborative, I hadn’t given much thought to the possibility of having idols in my life. As I was receiving feedback during my final presentation, one leader said to me, “Doug, challenge your idols: ministry, health & fitness, marriage, and influence.” As I reflected on that challenge, I realized that I had put all of these things in an improper place in my life. Learning to challenge my idols has been a lesson that has continued to challenge and sharpen me in the years since the Collaborative.
I was recently interviewing a leader and he said, “One of the mistakes I see leaders making is that they keep relearning the same things over and over again. They need to get out of their comfort zone by exposing themselves to content that challenges their thinking.” As I went through the Collaborative, I was exposed to content and influencers that helped me grow and develop to another level both personally and spiritually.
A Vision for our City
I gained a new perspective on having a vision for our cities, and God began dealing with me about my role in reaching our city. As a result, my wife and I established a leadership organization to help develop young leaders in our city for Christ. I do not believe we would have started this organization if it weren’t for the impact the Collaborative had on my life.
Since graduating the Leader’s Collaborative, I feel that I have emerged into a young man who is growing more and more confident in who I am and whose I am.
Lisa often shares this quote, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…” When I started the Collaborative in 2012, I was an insecure and wounded young man. In many ways, I felt like my world was over. However, since graduating the Leader’s Collaborative, I feel that I have emerged into a young man who is growing more and more confident in who I am and whose I am. I believe I am a better worker, a better husband, a better leader, and more like Christ as a result of the Collaborative, and for that I am eternally grateful.
You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need go through the Leader’s Collaborative?” You may be thinking that you have already learned all of the lessons that I learned. My challenge to you is this: I don’t think God wants to teach you the same things he taught me, but I do believe there is something in this experience that God does want to teach you, and just like me, you may not realize the significance of what He has for you until you’re on the other side of this experience. If that is the case, then my question to you is, what are you waiting for?
Doug Smith is passionate about adding value to peoples lives and helping them reach their maximum potential. Doug is currently employed by Light of Life as the Manager of Outreach and Major Gifts and founded Learning to Lead, which explores what Christian leadership looks like. Check out Doug’s website, www.DougSmithLive.com.